Policy Innovation Platform


We’re working hard to improve the impact and outcomes of
that lead to vibrant communities.

Across the country, policymakers aspire to develop policies, programs and services that support vibrant communities.

At the same time, citizens from all walks of life are demanding more from their governments. In addition to transparency, they want an opportunity to contribute to policy solutions that will impact their lives.

In recent years, alternative approaches to traditional policy development have begun to emerge, and they are engaging citizens and communities in new ways. The premise is that citizens and communities—as subject matter experts and as individuals and communities affected by policy decisions—can add value throughout the policy development process if we broaden the range of tools we use to determine priorities, execute plans, and evaluate outcomes.

We call these tools “policy innovation tools,” which include everything from labs, to challenge prizes, to participatory budgets. The first waves of experimentation with these tools have provided a foundation to build upon. The benefits of developing policy differently are evident. However, we acknowledge that more work is needed to understand how, and when, to apply policy innovation tools that best support the development of impactful public policies, services and programs.

We believe that policy innovation is about:

  1. Improving policy design, the policy development process, and policy implementation in order to achieve a specific goal around the needs of citizens and communities.
  2. Facilitating stronger engagement, dialogue and relationships between the people making policy and the citizens and communities impacted by policy.

The Policy Innovation Platform works to fill this gap.

The Policy Innovation Platform supports the continuous adoption of policy innovation methods and tools by policymakers in order to deliver better public policies, programs and services for all Canadians. We do this in three ways:

  • Connector.Connector.

    We design and run engagements that apply policy innovation methods and tools.

  • Connector.Connector.

    We curate resources and work with policymakers to develop deep knowledge about effective policy innovation methods and tools.

  • Connector.Connector.

    We rigorously evaluate what works (and what does not) and share lessons widely.

Here’s how we work with partners to test and use new policy methods and tools:

The Policy Innovation Platform's 5-step process: 1. Scope and frame problem statements, 2. Match policy challenges with the appropriate tool, 3. Design processes that apply new tools, 4. Convene the right people including stakeholders, citizen experts, and end users, and 5. Evaluate what worked and disseminate learnings widely.

    Alex Conliffe
    Director, Policy Innovation Platform

    Jesse Darling
    Senior Projects Officer

    Annalise Huynh
    Policy Assistant

    Andrew Do
    Policy Advisor

    Caitlin Cassie
    Policy Advisor
At BII+E, we don’t expect to have all the answers, which means that we believe strongly in a collaborative approach to problem solving. We hope to involve as many users and experts from the academic, business, public sector and entrepreneurship worlds as we can in finding solutions that benefit Canada.

We strive to connect with like-minded partners, committed to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship within Canada.

Our expanding network of collaborators includes knowledge experts, thought leaders, academics, experienced industry executives, successful entrepreneurs, public sector leaders, and our Senior Fellows and Fellows, all of whom are prominent members of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Email the Policy Innovation Platform Team at policyinnovation@ryerson.ca or get in touch with one of our team members.

If you are interested in joining our team, please visit Careers for the latest opportunities.

Our Timeline


  • Our Story

In 2015, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Ontario Public Service launched a pilot project designed to test the application of new tools and methodologies in the policy development process. With a mutual interest in exploring how these tools could develop useful policy insights, as well as build capacity within the public service and broker new relationships and partnerships, the Policy Innovation Platform was born.




  • Hack-cessibility

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ensures that organizations and businesses across the Province of Ontario achieve a baseline of accessibility by 2025. However, many common accessibility challenges fall outside of the Act. Recognizing the need for creative solutions to address this challenge, we worked with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to design a “policy hack”. Over the course of two-weeks, policymakers, business owners, and entrepreneurs advanced solutions using design thinking principles.


“For those Directorate staff members who joined the various design-challenge teams, it was a chance to work directly and collaboratively with stakeholders on a joint effort, enabled by technology and social media.”

– Ann Hoy, Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility Directorate





  • Climate Hack-to-Action

Canadian households have direct or indirect impact on 45 percent of Canada’s carbon emissions. Recognizing this opportunity, we collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to use behavioural economics and design thinking to nudge Ontarians to change their daily habits and accelerate a shift to a low-carbon footprint.


“Climate Hack-to-Action allowed government to learn about what millennials will focus on as solutions. They were looking at food, gamification, and social media. This was useful information for us to consider when shaping future consultations with this demographic.”

– MOECC, Climate Hack-to-Action Third Party Evaluation, Coperitia



Ryerson University Announces Winners of Climate Hack-to-Action

by Jessica Galang

Read the article

  • The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) Workshop

IPAC asked us to deliver an interactive workshop on policy innovation tools at their National Annual Conference. This was an exciting opportunity to conduct capacity building and professional development for policymakers across Canada.




  • Let’s Get Digital

We partnered with Ontario’s Digital Service to engage digital leaders across industry, community, non-profit and government to shape Ontario’s first Digital Government Action Plan. Using design-thinking, strategic foresight and an adapted version of Cards Against Humanity, we gained interesting insights and developed a series of recommendations for policymakers.



  • York Region District School Board (YRDSB) Climate Hack2Action

Building off the success of our partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, we wanted to test the replicability and scalability of our model to a different context. This led to an interesting opportunity to support the YRDSB in exploring methods for integrating innovation and entrepreneurship learning within the formal education system.

Read more


Climate Hack2Action

by Darrell Hein

snapdRead the article



  • Cover of Let's Get Digital: Insights and Recommendations. Images of computers, mobile devices, and icons for email, wifi, and file folders over an outline of the province of Ontario.
  • Let’s Get Digital: Insights + Recommendations

    This white paper distills the feedback we received from Let’s Get Digital, an event co-hosted with the Ontario Digital Service, to gain insights and recommendations for Ontario’s Digital Government Action Plan.

    Read the blog

  • Pilot Year Learnings

Our pilot year confirmed many hypotheses we had when we started the project. Evident in each engagement was an enthusiastic, curious and open-minded public service who wanted an opportunity to engage with unusual suspects. The pilot year showed the value in having a neutral space to bring together diverse mindsets and skillsets to tackle complex problems. More than anything, the pilot year confirmed the appetite from policymakers to leverage new tools and methods that assist in improving public services for Canadians.


Announcing Partnership Between BII+E's Policy Innovation Platform and the Ontario Public Service's Policy Innovation Hub

by Alex Conliffe

Read more

Taking a "Pracademic" Approach to Basic Income

by Caitlin Cassie + Andrew Do + Annalise Huynh

Read more